A Californian woman has been left with bones growing in her eyes after a botched facelift using stem cell injections.
The gruesome tale involves a woman in her Sixties, who is said to have paid $20,000 for the procedure at a Beverly Hills clinic.
But three months later, she was still in pain and noticed her right eye was clicking, according to a report in Scientific American.
When it didn’t improve, she visited another cometic surgeon, Dr Allan Wu, and explained she could not open her right eye without considerable pain and that every time she forced it open, she heard a strange clicking sound.
Dr Wu, of The Morrow Institute in California, told the magazine that when he first heard the woman’s complaint, he wondered if she was imagining things.
The clicks the woman had heard were the bone fragments grinding against one another.
One theory is the stem cells – which can develop into any tissue in the body – could have reacted with a common dermal filler which contains calcium.
The procedure the woman had is unregulated in America. It involves removing the patient’s stem cells from the blood and injecting them elsewhere in the body.
Stem cells are the building blocks of tissue growth. They can transform into any other type of cell the body is built from and so should be able to repair everything from the brain to the heart.
It’s claimed the technique helps to rejuvenate the skin because stem cells turn into brand-new tissue. This prompts the release of chemicals that boost ageing cells and encourage nearby cells to grow.
During the procedure, cosmetic surgeons used liposuction to remove some fat from the woman’s abdominal area. They then isolated the stem cells.
The stem cells were then injected into her face, around the eye area in particular.
During the procedure, she also had some dermal filler injected. This is routinely used by plastic surgeons to make wrinkles less noticeable.
But Dr Wu believes the woman’s original surgeons forgot that a key ingredient of such fillers is calcium hydroxylapatite.
This is a mineral thought to encourage the stem cells to turn into bone, reports the magazine.
Fortunately, he was able to remove the pieces of bone from her eye – but there is no guarantee that more won’t grow in the future.
Many similar procedures are available in the U.S. – none of which are approved by the Food and Drug Administration.